The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section I. Historical Sketches.

Chinese taste in gardening

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It is not a little remarkable that the Chinese taste in gardening, which was at first made known to the English public about this time, is by far the nearest previous approach to the modern style. Some critics, indeed, have asserted that the English are indebted to it for their ideas of the modern style. However this may be, and we confess it has very little weight with us, the harmonious system which the taste of the English has evolved in the modern style, is at the present day too far beyond the Chinese manner to admit of any comparison. The first is imbued with beauty of the most graceful and agreeable character, based upon nature, and refined by art; while the latter abounds in puerilities and whimsical conceits-rocky hills, five feet high-miniature bridges-dwarf oaks, a hundred years old and twenty inches in altitude-which, whatever may be our admiration for the curious ingenuity and skill tasked in their production, leave on our mind no very favorable impression of the taste which designed them.